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Estimating hedge fund leverage

  • Patrick M McGuire
  • Kostas Tsatsaronis

Hedge funds are major players in the international financial system and nimble investment strategies including the use of leverage allow them to build up large positions. Yet the monitoring of systemic risks posed by the build-up of leverage is hampered by incomplete information on hedge funds' balance sheet positions. This paper describes how an extension of "regression-based style analysis" and publicly available data on fund returns yield an indicator of the average amount of funding leverage used by hedge funds. The approach can take into account non-linear exposures through the use of synthetic option returns as possible risk factors. The resulting estimates of leverage are generally plausible for several hedge fund families, in particular those whose returns are well captured by the risk factors used in the estimation. In the absence of more detailed information on hedge fund investments, these estimates can serve as a tool for macro-prudential surveillance of financial system stability.

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Paper provided by Bank for International Settlements in its series BIS Working Papers with number 260.

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Length: 41 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bis:biswps:260
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  1. Stulz, Rene M., 2007. "Hedge Funds: Past, Present, and Future," Working Paper Series 2007-3, Ohio State University, Charles A. Dice Center for Research in Financial Economics.
  2. Stephen J. Brown & William N. Goetzmann & James M. Park, 1998. "Hedge Funds and the Asian Currency Crisis of 1997," New York University, Leonard N. Stern School Finance Department Working Paper Seires 98-014, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business-.
  3. Fung, William & Hsieh, David A., 2000. "Performance Characteristics of Hedge Funds and Commodity Funds: Natural vs. Spurious Biases," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 35(03), pages 291-307, September.
  4. John Kambhu & Til Schuermann & Kevin J. Stiroh, 2007. "Hedge funds, financial intermediation, and systemic risk," Staff Reports 291, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  5. Gupta, Anurag & Liang, Bing, 2005. "Do hedge funds have enough capital? A value-at-risk approach," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 219-253, July.
  6. Markus K. Brunnermeier & Stefan Nagel, 2004. "Hedge Funds and the Technology Bubble," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 59(5), pages 2013-2040, October.
  7. Patrick McGuire & Eli Remolona & Kostas Tsatsaronis, 2005. "Time-varying exposures and leverage in hedge funds," BIS Quarterly Review, Bank for International Settlements, March.
  8. Tobias Adrian, 2007. "Measuring risk in the hedge fund sector," Current Issues in Economics and Finance, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, vol. 13(Mar).
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